What evidence is there to suggest that the social environment is hostile in "Of Mice and Men"? What effect does this have on itinerant workers like George and Lennie?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,791 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

One element that shows the social environment of the ranch to be hostile is the bunk house. Anyone can come in and out, including the owner's son, Curley. Curley, who knows he has power, comes in and struts around, expecting to be respected. The narrator calls Curley “pugnacious and calculating.” Curley, a former lightweight boxer, is always trying to prove himself because he is insecure. As George says more than once to Lennie, Curley makes him uneasy, and, as a result, he doesn't feel safe at this ranch. George is always telling Lennie to lay low and be quiet, because he knows the environment they have landed in is hostile.

Another element of the hostile social environment is the way the other ranch workers treat Crooks. Because he is black, they tell him he smells bad, and they won't share the bunkhouse with him. This forces him to sleep in a trough of hay in a lean-to by the barn.

Part of George and Lennie's dream of owning a farm is to be able to create a safe environment for...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 620 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write1,918 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial